Gianni Infantino asked the media why they can be “so mean” as he was re-elected for a new four-year term as FIFA president at the organisation’s Congress in Rwanda.
The Swiss said some reports concerning his support base were “racist” and argued FIFA is singled out for negative press when it proposes new competitions.
Infantino had started his press conference on the eve of last year’s World Cup in Doha with an opening statement lasting more than an hour, and began a press conference in Kigali by telling reporters: “Unfortunately, because of a few of you, all of you have to listen to another monologue by Gianni Infantino.
“I hope it will be shorter than the Doha monologue. Why are some of you so mean? We work hard, we don’t steal, we don’t profit.”
Infantino was unopposed for FIFA’s top job in Kigali, and his re-election until 2027 was confirmed by acclamation, via a round of applause in the Congress hall.
“An overwhelming majority has the feeling that I’m doing a pretty good job, including in Europe,” he told reporters.
“When I read articles, the best I can read is ‘well, he has some support by some poor countries in some poor continents’, with the names of some countries.
“So besides being racist, these kinds of remarks, they are factually wrong. And I think a journalist has a duty to be impartial and correct because the readers believe what they read.”
He said that whenever FIFA proposed a competition it was portrayed in the media as “a money-making exercise”.
He drew a comparison with the Premier League and claimed it earned as much in one year as FIFA earned in four.
“The big part of 24 billion in four years goes to 20 clubs in England. Again, congratulations. Well done. I praise them,” he said.
“When FIFA does one quarter of that, seven billion (in a four-year cycle) this money doesn’t go to 20 English clubs or 20 German clubs or 20 Swiss clubs, this money goes to 211 countries all over the world.”
The Premier League is understood to have secured £10.5bn (12.7bn) in central broadcast and commercial revenue for the three-year cycle which began this season.
The English top flight is a member of the World Leagues Forum and European Leagues organisations which both released statements on Wednesday criticised FIFA for failing to consult it over plans for a new 32-team Club World Cup starting in 2025.
The WLF statement said it would consider “appropriate next steps” in response, amid concerns…
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